Roundup: UF softball still unbeaten
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 12:10 a.m.
The No. 5 Gator softball squad added two run-rule wins to the tally Friday to open play in the three-day 2013 Lipton Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators collaborated for nine extra-base hits, including four homers, three doubles and two triples, as Florida downed UNC Wilmington 10-0 in five innings in the first game of the afternoon, and Savannah State 12-0 in run-rule fashion to close out the evening.
Florida is off to an 8-0 start for the third consecutive season and with their 22 runs Friday, the Gators have now outscored their opponents 75-13 this season.
Sophomore pitchers Alyssa Bache and Lauren Haeger each chalked up wins in the circle for the Gators on Friday, Bache (2-0) with a one-hit shutout against Savannah State in Florida's second game of the night and Haeger (3-0) with a two-hit shutout against UNC Wilmington in the early game.
Haeger struck out eight through five innings against the Seahawks and walked three, while Bache walked just one and retired a career-tying five batters by strikeout in the nightcap against the Tigers. For Bache, the one-hitter was her first complete-game one-hit shutout donning the Gator uniform.
Not only did Haeger go to work in the circle for UF, she was 4-for-5 on the day at the plate, including a perfect 2-for-2 against the Tigers, registering an. 800 batting average with a two-run blast — her first of the season — and two doubles to account for seven of Florida's 21 RBIs on the day.
The hot bats were contagious in the Florida dugout — eight Gator players batted .333 or above Friday, led by Haeger's .800 clip and followed closely behind by junior Stephanie Tofft (.750) and freshmen Kelsey Stewart and Kirsti Merritt, who were both .500 on the day at the dish. Senior outfielder Kelsey Horton was 2-for-5 at the plate (.400).
Florida was an aggressive 9-10 on the base paths, bringing its season stolen-base tally to 27-29. Stewart swiped four on the night, followed by two each for Tofft and Merritt and one for freshman Taylore Fuller, her third of the season. Stewart leads UF in the category this season with a perfect 10-10 through the first eight games of 2013.
The Gators put up two runs in the second inning against UNC Wilmington and never looked back, finishing with four runs each in the third and fourth innings to serve the Seahawks their second loss of the day. A sophomore Briana Little two-run shot — her second long ball of the season — started things off for the Gators.
Merritt, sophomore Bailey Castro and Haeger all knocked in runs in the third inning against UNCW, Merritt with a two-run blast — her second of the season — and Castro and Haeger with a single up the middle and double to left center, respectively, for the 6-0 Gator lead.
A Castro two-RBI base hit and Haeger two-RBI single plated Florida's four runs in the fourth inning against the Seahawks.
UNCW hurler Kayla Pine dropped to 0-2 on the season with the loss to the Gators, while teammates Morgan McCann and Camry Wagner connected for the Seahawks' lone two hits of the contest.
In game two of the night for Florida against Savannah State, Florida scored multiple runs in the first three innings, powered by a six-hit, seven run second frame. The Gators put up two in the first, seven in the second and three in the third in UF's third run-rule win of the season.
Bache carried a no-hitter through 4.1 innings before Tiffany Taylor dropped a blooper in shallow center field for Savannah State's one hit of the matchup. Bache popped Chloe Brett up and fanned Antonette Smith swinging to wrap up the game in the top of the fifth and improve to 2-0 on the season.
A Haeger sacrifice fly and a SSU defensive miscue helped the Gators get things going offensively in the nightcap for a 2-0 advantage after the first inning, but the Gators busted it wide open in the second thanks to a freshman Aubree Munro infield RBI single, a Merritt two-RBI triple, a Haeger RBI double and a Tofft two-RBI triple. The Gators capitalized on one of three SSU defensive errors for the seventh run of the frame, as Florida took a 9-0 lead to the third.
UF piled on three more runs in the home half of the third inning, first when Stewart showcased her speed with a two-out inside-the-park homer that flew deep to center and smacked off the wall to extend UF's lead, 10-0. Next up, a Merritt hit-by-pitch set up a Haeger two-run homer to left field — her first of 2013 — that capped off UF's scoring against the Tigers at 12 runs.
SSU pitcher Madison Hedderly moved to 2-2 on the season after shouldering the loss against the Gators.
Day two of the Lipton Invitational kicks off with Western Carolina vs. Charleston Southern at 9:30 a.m.
The Gators will be back at it today with games against Western Carolina (noon) and Savannah State (2:15 p.m.) before wrapping up weekend play with UNC Wilmington (1 p.m.) and Charleston Southern (3:30 p.m.) on Sunday.
MEN'S TENNIS: No. 11 Florida lost for the first time this season on in the first round of the 2013 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship. No. 5 Pepperdine proved to be too much for the Gators, beating UF, 4-1, in Seattle, Wash. Florida will face No. 13 California today at 5:30 p.m.
Pepperdine, 6-0 on the season, got on the scoreboard first after winning the doubles point. The Waves got a win from the duo of Sebastian Fanselow and Alex Sarkissian on court two over Mike Alford and Florent Diep, 8-5. Pepperdine clinched the point with a win at No. 1 singles, as Finn Tearney and Francis Alcantara defeated Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson, 8-6.
The Gators' Stephane Piro and Bob van Overbeek won, 8-5, against the Waves' Mousheg Hovhannisyan and David Sofaer.
In singles, Pepperdine extended its lead when Fanselow, the fourth-ranked player in the nation, defeated van Overbeek, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 1 singles. Alcantara made it 3-0 for the higher seed with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Watson at No. 4 singles. Alford got the Gators on the board with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Hovhannisyan on court five. The Waves clinched the team victory with a win on court two from Tearney over Diep, 6-3, 6-1.
GYMNASTICS: No. 1 Florida (5-1, 4-1 SEC) faces No. 9 Georgia (5-4-1, 3-0-1) in a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum today for the GymDog's annual Pink Out Meet. This is the 37th consecutive meeting between Florida and Georgia that both programs bring a top-10 ranking into the competition. Meet time is set for 4 p.m.
This is Florida's third appearance in a pink meet this season. These “pink” meets are part of a SEC initiative to raise breast cancer awareness and all of the league's gymnastics teams will participate in a “pink” meet this season. Team colors are set aside as each team will wear pink (but in different shades).
The meet will air tape-delayed on SUN Sports on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m.
Florida has at least one gymnast among the nation's top 10 in each of the five events. Bridget Sloan is No. 2 in the all-around (39.55) and No. 8 in vault (9.895). Ashanee Dickerson is No. 7 in all-around (39.440), No. 2 in vault (9.933) and No. 4 in floor exercise (9.904). Kytra Hunter is No. 2 in floor (9.925) and No. 3 in vault (9.925). In the uneven bars rankings, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto is No. 3 (9.892). Junior Mackenzie Caquatto holds the No. 3 position in the balance beam rankings (9.896).
Georgia's posted its season-best total of 197.50 in its last home appearance on Feb. 1 to take the win against Alabama.
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